ice curtain

At the very edge of American territory lies a remote settlement whose people live in the arc of Moscow’s power. The island villagers of Little Diomede are watched round the clock from Russia’s sister island of Big Diomede. It is barely two miles away and between the two islands runs the border.

But what Russian troops see is a far cry from the American dream. Climate change, border restrictions and loss of native language have eroded proud traditions. Shabby homes cluster up a hillside and rusting machinery lies along the shoreline.  Drug abuse, domestic and sexual violence and teenage pregnancy are endemic.

"Diomedes is crying. We need help", appeals one village leader.

Before the Cold War, the villagers criss-crossed back and forth with family members living on both islands. In1948, the border was suddenly shut down and relatives forcibly separated.

More than sixty years later, this remains one of the world’s most closed frontiers. It is known as the Ice Curtain, and this is the story of the American people living in its shadow.